The Hong Kong Industrial Technology Centre has revamped its technology incubation programme, aiming to lure property developers to give office space to IT start-up firms in exchange for financial stakes in firms. The HKITC, which also would take a share of firms in exchange for marketing support and funding, is hoping to capitalise on a weak office-property market as well and fresh interest of property developers with the advent of Cyberport. James Liu, the HKITC's chief executive, pointed to billion-dollar stock valuations of companies such as Yahoo!, Amazon.com, and eBay, which were tiny Internet start-ups funded by venture capital firms, as incentive to developers. Property developers could cash in if the start-up lists on a stock market. Based on the size of the office given to the technology tenant, the developer would receive up to 20 per cent of a company's market value, as determined by the HKITC. 'Our goal is to produce a successful IT company after three years,' he said. But he admitted the start-ups were more likely to go public on the soon-to-launch Growth Enterprise Market and would not earn the huge valuations of Nasdaq counterparts. IT start-ups also would grant equity to the HKITC for marketing assistance, including $80,000 per year for three years, with the HKITC. Founded in 1993 with $240 million in seed capital from the Government, the HKITC has launched 75 firms - mostly in electronics, software, or the Internet. They received rent discounts in the HKITC's centre in Kowloon Tong or on the campus of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, plus marketing assistance. While 25 firms having 'graduated' - with only one of those now out of business, Mr Liu said - none of them have listed on a stock exchange. The financial bonus that Mr Liu promises has not appeared with its latest crop of firms. As of last week, Mr Liu had not talked to any property developers about the HKITC's plans. But despite the weak office rental market, leading developers such as Swire may not embrace the idea. 'If a company has spare office space, it may not be a bad idea,' Joanne Wong, an analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston said. 'But Swire probably would not take equity. They are fairly conservative.'